1890, 1850, 0818 & 076 are not premium rate numbers, despite the cost from a mobile

saynoto1890 frequently asked questions FAQ on premium rate numbersCalls made to 1890, 1850, 0818 and 076 numbers from your mobile may be expensive, but they are not premium rate numbers. This blog post explains.

This came up recently in some comments on the SayNoTo1890 Facebook page:

Someone explain, where’s the gain? Do companies using 1890/1850 etc gain an income from the call?


I agree and it’s getting worse not better. These premium numbers have no reason to exist but to generate unfair charges

This was my response, explaining how these numbers came to cost as much as they do.

It’s probably worth noting that technically, these numbers are not premium rate numbers.

When original created years ago – prior to mobiles – using 1890 numbers as an example, the intention was to provide a low cost option for people to call national numbers, but at the cost of a local call.
So, on your landline, if it cost 5p a minute to call your neighbour in Mayo, but 15p a minute to call a business in Dublin, then the LoCall option was introduced to allow you dial a 1890 number for a business in Dublin, and pay the local rate – so, 5p per minute.

Effectively, the rule was, you charge for a call to an 1890 number the same as you would charge for a local call.

The problem, with the introduction of mobile phones, is that the cost of a local call, and a national call, are the same – i.e. they’re now calls to landlines, and are costed, normally, at 15c to 35c per minute or more.

However, in most cases, with minutes bundles as part of your mobile contract, no one really pays that amount to make calls as the minutes are deducted from your bundle.

The problem we’re all suffering is therefore twofold:

Firstly, those rates to call landlines then set the equivalency bar – so, a 35c per minute cost to call a landline on a mobile is then the benchmark for the 1890 call.
In this case, mobile phone service providers are actually following the rules of “LoCall” numbers exactly to the letter of the law.

Secondly, and more importantly, mobile phone service providers are NOT (mostly) deducting minutes on calls to 1890, 1850 or 0818 (and now 076 numbers as well) from your contracted minutes bundles.

Therefore, every call to those numbers on your mobile will cost you directly.

This, as you’ll be told by ComReg is a business decision by the mobile phone service providers. Or more relevantly, the provision of “free” minutes bundles is a business decision, so deciding what comes from it, or doesn’t, is also a business decision.
And ComReg will tell you that they won’t interfere in business decisions of the mobile phone service providers.

They won’t, but they could if they really wanted to, or if they were directed to by their government department, but such a direction isn’t ever likely.

Hope that clarifies a bit more.


9 Responses to 1890, 1850, 0818 & 076 are not premium rate numbers, despite the cost from a mobile

  1. Noel 8th April 2016 at 01:22 #

    As I previously said these are premium rate numbers. Calling these “redirected” numbers costs me incrementally (above) my standard package from both mobile and landlines. DEFATO they are premium.

    • 77FaOyXT0j6M1pI 29th April 2017 at 10:49 #

      Just because they cost you more, doesn’t mean they’re defined as “premium rate” numbers.

      Calling an 1890 or 1850 number is defined, by COMREG, to have a cost the same as calling a local number on your telephone pricing tariff.

      When these were originally set up, on landlines, a local call was 5c (still is). So calling those numbers on landlines would be actually Lo-Call or CallSave, because they would be 5c also.

      However, the local calling rate on mobiles is 30-35c, hence the mobile companies get away with charging that same amount on 1890 and 1850.

      Therefore, by definition and in practice, they’re not premium.

      If anything, by your definition, all local calling rates on mobile phones are premium.

      They’re not, by definition. They’re just expensive.

  2. ian 3rd September 2016 at 07:41 #

    Three (Ireland) acknowledges that 1850 and 1890 numbers are ‘premium rate’.

    See http://archive.is/XoMLT

    • 77FaOyXT0j6M1pI 29th April 2017 at 10:43 #

      Worth noting here, that this is a 3 employee, rather than 3 themselves. You can’t always assume employees know what they’re talking about.


      In this, premium numbers are defined differently from “special numbers”. 1890, 1850, and 0818 non-geographic numbers are defines as “special numbers”.

      Or at least that’s my reading of that document.

  3. Ian 6th March 2017 at 14:28 #

    The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that calls to an after-sale service line must not cost more than the cost of a standard call to a landline or mobile number.

    See https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2017/march/cost-of-after-sales-call-must-not-exceed-standard-phone-call/

    This clearly precludes the use of numbers starting 1850, 1890, 0818 or 076.

  4. Ian 17th March 2017 at 01:07 #

    The CJEU publication of judgement can be found here: http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/p1_294576

    That document additionally links to original court documents.

  5. aisling gallagher 25th April 2017 at 09:23 #

    Why is nobody doing anything about it if it contravenes EU law

    • 77FaOyXT0j6M1pI 29th April 2017 at 10:51 #

      Because the cost of calling a landline on a mobile is 30-35c as charged by the mobile companies.

      And the costs charged to call these 1890, 1850 and 0818 numbers from a mobile are the same.

      So, the costs are not more than calling a landline on the same telephone service / contract.

      Therefore, to my view (unfortunately), no law is being contravened.

      • Ian 16th November 2017 at 11:12 #

        Where someone has inclusive calls to geographic numbers, calling a 1850, 1890, 0818 or 076 number is not included in their allowance and they will therefore pay more than calling a geographic number.

        The act of offering a number where those callers are forced to pay more to make the call than to make an equivalent call to a geographic number is where the breach of the EU Consumer Rights Directive occurs.

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